LG-IM – Their own Incredible Miracle?

Smeb (Top)

Lilac (Jungle)

MidKing (Mid)

Paragon (AD)

Lasha (Supp)

-          9th ~ 16th OGN Champions Summer (1W 2L)

-          5th ~ 8th OGN Champions Winter (L 2:3 Blaze)

-          NLB Winter 5th ~ 8th (L 0:2 GSG)

-          1st IEM Sao Paulo (W 2:0 Anexis)

-          7th ~ 8th IEM World Championships (2W 3L)

Team review

When the SC two giants IM decided to start a LoL team from the former members of Team OP, there was high expectation that this team would continue the success of Team OP. However until the recent win at Sao Paolo, the IM LoL team had never reached a meaningful finals stage and they have thus far remained a huge disappointment. Their failure to succeed was quite perplexing given the fact that their team was composed of highly talented individuals. All the fans of IM are still waiting for that magical day when all of the talent on this team will start to click and the team will finally be able to play as if they were a team instead of playing a soloq game. Perhaps this season is that magical season when the team finally plays like a team and IM will finally be able to achieve something in the OGN Champions tournament.

The team is headlined by the famous player Lilac who used to make a name for himself with his solid play in the top lane but when Cornsalad joined IM in order to preserve the seeding from Team OP, Lilac was asked to move to support where he played subpar. Lilac was then moved back to top where he wasn’t able to recapture his old self and now he’s being asked to play jungle (his original role on IM) with the departure of Ring Troll. It’ll be interesting to see if Lilac can finally shine one more time in his natural position and for a player who’s been asked to sacrifice so much for the team, he really deserves a chance to shine. We will see if Lilac can turn back the clocks to one year ago and shine during this year’s Champions Spring like he did during last year Champions Spring.


Team Strengths

Solid play from the bottom line

The bottom duo of Paragon and Lasha have been the anchors of the team ever since Lasha was brought in to replace the former IM support Livy. Even when  the team does terribly, this duo was seen to do well and when the team is doing relatively well, this duo can usually carry games. A travesty for both these players is that because they play on a relatively weak team, they are usually overlooked but these two players may be the most underrated players in the scene right now. Paragon is a player who has really suffered from not having a good support or a good tank line to initiate and peel for him for a long time but when given the chance he can be that guy to carry his team and he really has solid play all around while being exceptionally good at sniping things with his Ez ult (GG Froggen). Lasha is probably one of the best Zyra supports in the scene along with kkinsh and while no one may talk about him in the best support KR discussion,  he has quietly established himself as one of the best if not the best player on the IM team. With a new look team and an inexperienced top laner, the bottom duo will have to perform as they always have and try to remain relevant in the game regardless of how the rest of their team are doing.

Addition by subtraction

During recent times, there was a change to the IM line-up with Ring being removed from the team and Smeb being added to the team from their second team. This could potentially go in favour of IM because I have always felt that Ring was never a really good player after he was let go by MiG. Ring would never make great decisions as a jungler and he to me really was only good when he played Lee Sin. Despite his level of play, Ring has always had many followers (due to his glorious hair…) but he didn’t have the play to back it up. While his replacement Lilac may not be that much better than him, the team probably could benefit from getting less attention because of a single individual. In addition, if Smeb can perform better than Lilac in the top lane, then the whole ordeal will work better for the team since Lilac can play the tank roll much more proficiently than Ring can coming out of the jungle.

Strong laning

IM is a team that’s best known as the team of hard throwers but for someone to throw a game, they need to have a lead to begin with. Perhaps the most frustrating situation with IM is that they are quite skilled when it comes to laning and rarely you see IM losing terribly during this phase. This is a testament to the amount of individual talent on this team. This can definitely be an asset for the team going forward. With the season 3 changes, gaining an advantage in the lane has garnered much more emphasis compared to season 2. While laning is not the only part of the game, being able to gain an advantage is definitely a nice thing to have. Should IM ever look to press their advantages after laning, then they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

 

Team weaknesses

Shallow champion pools

IM is probably the team with the shallowest champion pool in the tournament. While Smeb hasn’t been in the competitive scene for a long time, he’s only played 3 champions so far and Lilac is also a question mark with his champion selection as he just recently switched into the jungle role. Elsewhere, MidKing has mainly played Jayce, Ryze or TF without having played the popular AD bruiser picks. Even their bottom  lane only really play the current traditional champs and they have never shown the ability to play something very unexpected unlike the other bot duos. As a result of this shallow champion selection pool, IM is generally more rigid in their strategies and they are not able to have a strategic advantage over the other teams in terms of picks and bans. However now that they have a true second team who can scrim with them at a competitive level, the IM first team can look to improve tremendously from practice and improve upon their shallow champion pools. By doing so, their team will benefit greatly in the long run in all aspects of the game.

The league of throws

The one feature of IM that frustrates their fans the most is that they often gain a lead on their opponent only to throw it away slowly until they lose. This is the sign of a team that lacks a true shot caller and as a result IM often play the game as if it’s a soloq game. More often than not, you can see IM wandering around aimlessly during the team fight phase without getting any objectives. This allows the opposition to catch up on the gold differences. In addition, IM tends to engage in team fights when their whole team would not be there or a stray member of their team would be caught out causing them to lose objectives and causing this reverse snowballing. It also doesn’t help that IM’s team fighting is subpar compared to other top tier teams and all of their late game weaknesses usually cumulate to them losing grandiosely (against paiN, Millenium, Blaze). If IM can control their uncontrollable urge to start throwing, then they might actually pose a challenge to the top teams in the league but if they play like the IM we love and adore, they’ll remain as the most disappointing team in OGN Champions history along with Najin Shield.

Lack of a real strategy  

Another problem that the “lower tier” teams exhibit is that because they aren’t as proficient on many champions, they are not able to make strategic picks and thus lack a real strategy behind their team compositions. It has been shown time and time again that games can be won and lost during the pick and ban stage.  For IM, you usually do not witness a game when they take make a clever strategic move during the pick/ban stage. The only thing that could be said about IM is that if they’re able to get champs that they know how to use well or if they can get the “OP” champions in the patch, they succeeded in their picks and bans. There’s definitely a limit to this because even if there are OP champions in current competitive play, there are ways to counter these OP champions and if a team knows that IM will go for certain champions, they can definitely find a way to bait those picks and dismantle them. With the addition of a second team, IM will need to theorycraft and improve upon their knowledge aspect of their game as well so that they can have some depth as a team.

 

Key Player: None

The reason that there is no particular player who needs to step up his game in order for this team to succeed  is that this particular team doesn’t need a single hero to succeed. IM will require a full team effort to show that they can play as a unit and not act as if it’s another game of soloq they’re playing. Every member of the team will also need to become smarter in their playing and if they are able to accomplish all this, they will definitely be able to be a great team (this team nearly knocked out Blaze last year).

 

Season expectations

Given their recent form and the fact that they have shuffled their line-up recently, I would have to rate IM as the weakest team in the tournament being only better than AhQ.  That being said, group B is definitely the weaker of the two groups and IM have a chance to advance if they can get a game off from the top teams in the group. 


IRL OP cause me to be tardy :D

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